Obama makes first visit to Kenya since leaving office in support of sister's foundation

Kimberley Richrds
AP

Former President Barack Obama has visited Kenya, his father’s native country, for the first time since leaving office.

Mr Obama travelled to Kenya, for a two-day visit, to help support the launch of a sports, training and vocational centre founded by his half-sister, Dr Auma Obama, through her foundation Sauti Kuu, the Associated Press reported. Sauti Kuu aims to provide economic opportunities for young people in rural Kenya. Its new centre will help the youth acquire new skills through education and sports, the foundation’s website states.

While in Kenya, Mr Obama reportedly visited Nyang’oma K’ogelo in Siaya County, the village where his father grew up. He also attended a launch event for Sauti Kuu’s new sports and vocational centre, where he delivered a speech detailing his first trip to Kenya, at 27 years old, and the time he spent with Ms Auma Obama. Mr Obama commended his sister for the opportunities her foundation provides the youth.

Mr Obama can be seen dancing and later playing basketball during the launch ceremony for the centre in videos published online.

In a Twitter post published 15, July, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta wrote that he met with the former US president and Ms Auma Obama during Mr Obama’s visit.

“It was a great pleasure to welcome you back,” Mr Kenyatta wrote.

Mr Kenyatta and his political opposition leader Raila Odinga notably held a surprise meeting promising unity and healing in March, following a period of political strife after Mr Kenyatta’s election victory. Mr Obama was reportedly expected to meet with Mr Odinga during his visit, the AP reported.

“We are upbeat about the coming of the President Barack Obama,” said Siaya County Governor Cornell Rasanga ahead of Mr Obama’s visit.

Mr Obama memorably visited Kenya in a much-anticipated visit as president in 2015.